Good Health: A Starting Point for Integration

November 10th, 2015


Excerpt from Ramazan Salman’s acceptance speech on receiving the 2015 European Health Award during the European Health Forum in Bad Gastein, Austria, on 2 October 2015, for the Ethno-Medical Centre – EMZ (Hanover, Germany) and its MiMi – Health with Migrants for Migrants programme.


Salman accepting the European Health Award at the Forum

I want to thank you for giving this award to MiMi and the thousands of hands, hearts and minds that help migrants and refugees partake in our health systems.

These wonderful people who we love and fully recognize as MiMis themselves and who make the world a little better and healthier every day. For it is them who support those people who need it the most. I am full of admiration for these people and their great contribution to integration and inclusion in Europe. We are all very proud of our MiMis.

[…] We immigrants need and want to take a responsible role in health care and prevention for society. Thousands of us have learned through MiMi how we can achieve that. Therefore today, I am proud to be here as the inventor of a successful social and health integration instrument – not to complain about the obstacles we have to face but to offer solutions. MiMi is an example of social inclusion which we want to reach not only in the field of health care but also in all political areas, since health must be the starting point for any political arena and political consideration.

I understand the award of the European Health Award to serve as a guide and further motivation for us to spread the MiMi-programme to other European countries and other areas of activity, such as education or poverty prevention and promotion of prosperity. We have already begun! We thank you for the encouragement you have given us by this award. This encouragement and appreciation we very much need in this moment. I am sure that we are all very much impressed by the current massive refugee movements taking place in Europe today. People fleeing war, torture and destruction coming to our shores in Europe to find asylum and ensure their survival. Many also come because we need them in order to develop our own societies. Through MiMi (and the projects of the MiMi family), we can help better address these challenges. Let us scale the following example our joint integration and inclusion efforts in the following ways:

We should all work with migrants and everyone else for a peaceful, social and healthy society with equal opportunities for one another. If we go down this road together, we can achieve the goal.

I specially would like to thank two people from Austria because they have taken long ago this common path. When I met the current Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz who was at the time Secretary of State for Integration, he was immediately enthusiastic about the ideas of partnership and integration that embody the MiMi concept and technology. I felt both invited and welcomed by him!

Stephan Amann from the Volkshilfe Wien is our MiMi programme director for Austria. Ever since I met him I have grown to appreciate his warm-heartedness and creativity. These two traits serve as the basis of our wonderful partnership with him and his organization.

My depiction of Austria is dominated by these two personalities and their entrepreneurial spirit and social optimism. Through them I have almost become an Austrian!

Health and education are important pillars of integration. That is why the concept of achieving good health must be a starting point for integration efforts. Health promotion and preventive action offer a variety of activities in which all migrants themselves can find acceptance on equal terms. We all need a lot of compassion, a lot of enthusiasm and a lot of personal commitment to continue our tireless efforts.Health and

I hope that today’s ceremony is also an incentive to more transcultural togetherness. I hope that through our award, others can better achieve the path towards integration. And I hope that we continue to earn the right to truly deserve this award.

Excerpt published with permission from Ramazan Salman.

ramazan_salman_photoRamazan Salman is the Executive Managing Director and co-founder of the Ethno-Medical Centre (Ethno-Medizinisches Zentrum – EMZ), the organisation that developed the award winning “MiMi – With Migrants for Migrants” programme (Mit Migranten für Migranten – MiMi).

Read the press release from the European Health Forum Gastein Awards.


About MiMi. The award-winning MiMi programme recruits, trains and supports individuals from within immigrant communities to become cultural mediators who can help navigate new and different ways of dealing with traditions of health and illness and the body.  Read about the MiMi programme at the Ethno-Medizinisches Zentrum (Hanover) and its focus on promoting immigrant health by making migrants experts in their own causes.


More Stories - From November 2015

Migrants Need Cities, Cities Need Migrants

Many places being cited as examples of cities reborn – including London, New York, Los Angeles, Singapore, Sydney – owe their renaissance to growing populations of the...

Chicago, City Embassies and Global Cities

Cities of Migration talks to Juliana Kerr,  Director, Global Cities and Immigration, at the Chicago Council of Global Affairs, about the growing...
Looking for Past Issues?

More »Upcoming Webinars

    • No events.